2011 NBA Draft Preview
When Tiki Barber announced that he would return to the NFL after a four-year absence, the sound you heard resembled a collective "oh well."
Barber's return to the NFL has been overshadowed by the impending lockout, Plaxico Burress' release from prison and with news from players who have actually done something in the last four years.
Barber has not, and his signing (if signed) will surely produce a genuine "WTF" moment from fans of his new team.
This got us to thinking, which other free agent signings of the past few seasons were the least embraced by their fan base?
Kyrie Irving Will Not Be Picked First Overall
The Cleveland Cavaliers own the first and the fourth overall picks and these two picks will be their prized possessions going forward after Lebron James' "decision" last summer.
Duke super freshman Kyrie Irving is widely regarded as the best prospect in this year's draft. He has the most star potential, and that is why he is projected to go number first overall on Thursday. I beg to differ though.
Derrick Williams out of Arizona will be the Cavs' first pick and Brandon Knight will be their second.
Derrick Williams is a poor man's Lebron James but his size and versatility will be an asset coveted by head coach Byron Scott.
Brandon Knight is a young point guard wise beyond his years. He is a natural playmaker and already a knock-down perimeter shooter.
Byron Scott will be acquiring two very good players to rebuild Cleveland around.
Kyrie Irving Will Be Going Third
Surely you would think that if Kyrie Irving doesn't go No. 1 then he will definitely be picked second. The problem there is, Minnesota feels they have their point guard of the future already in Ricky Rubio.
They have said they are open to trading the second pick, but if they don't they will select Kentucky big man Enes Kanter. He is the most polished big man in the draft and pairing him with up-and-coming Kevin Love down low will do wonders for his development.
After they pick Kanter, their main players will be Love (scorer and hustle player), Michael Beasley (scorer), Rubio (playmaker) and Kanter. That's not a bad core of players to build around for the future.
Kyrie Irving will be left sitting their at No. 3 for the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are rumored to be shopping point guard Devin Harris to make room for a point guard and Irving is their man.
This Draft Will Produce Solid NBA Players After All
For one reason or another, this year's draft is not believed to have too much talent to go around. They will be asked about this, and I feel as if this will be extra motivation for the prospects to come in and produce.
Even if there isn't many franchise-building players, a lot of these players will land in places that will maximize their potential.
As mentioned before, Derrick Williams and Brandon Knight together in Cleveland under Byron Scott will be great for each other. Not to mention the fact that Baron Davis will help Knight learn to defend bigger point guards and break people down off the dribble.
Kyrie Irving in Utah will flourish as a playmaker with those weapons around him. Utah doesn't have the best crop of talent, but they do have capable shooters for Irving to find open looks for. Oh, and Al Jefferson is no slouch down low either.
Alec Burks of Colorado will be a big time player. He is a scoring guard with playmaking abilities also. I believe he will fall to the Milwaukee Bucks and will excell with Brandon Jennings in the backcourt. Also, he will take some pressure off of Jennings to create offense.
A lot of a players' success depends on where he gets drafted. Because there isn't a plethora of talent, teams won't be forced to take the best player available and can focus on needs.
That is why this draft will have better than expected turn outs when we are able to look back and evaluate it.